Farnation Preview

With its upcoming massively multiplayer network RPG, Farnation, Sega plans to take the first step in introducing the concept of persistent online worlds to the console market.

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The Dreamcast has become the first true mass-market, network-compatible console with online-enabled games such as NFL 2K1 and Quake III Arena. With its upcoming massively multiplayer network RPG, Farnation, Sega plans to take the first step in introducing the concept of persistent online worlds to the console market. Farnation gives a nod to such successful PC games as Ultima Online and - more recently - Everquest by letting players interact with other human players across a large universe.

Farnation contains five different terrains, and in these areas, you will have the ability to cooperate with other human players in building towns - complete with casinos, libraries, restaurants, hospitals, banks, and residences. Of course, you aren't limited to these towns. You can build stations that house airships, boats, and stagecoaches so that you can travel around the entire Farnation world to advance the game's story arcs and events. In fact, there are several special events that occur throughout the game for plot advancement and, according to Sega, to make the game easily navigable for beginning players.

However, Farnation's emphasis is on human interaction. Communicating through the use of the game's chat function, you can buy, sell, and trade items with others. You can also form parties and head out in search of battles and adventure. In total, the game's play modes include party battles, simultaneous online battles, weapon and item creator, town development, and story elements.

Aside from its gameplay features, Farnation looks to be one of the most visually impressive massively multiplayer online RPGs on the market. After briefly seeing the game in action, we came away thoroughly impressed with the amount of detail in the characters and environments, particularly in the towns. In one scene, there were at least a dozen generously modeled polygonal characters onscreen at once, and the environments were cluttered with several building structures and residences. Graphically, Farnation is favorably comparable to the currently available online RPGs for the PC platform.

Farnation will be released for the Dreamcast in 2001, but Sega of America has not announced a specific release date at this time.

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